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The Nintendo 3DS is Living Its Best Year in 2017

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All eyes are on the Nintendo Switch this year, as well they should be. Nintendo has been in a weird place with home consoles over the last decade. The Wii exploded onto the scene as a gimmicky toy, then quickly collected dust in everyone’s closest. The Wii U failed to capture an audience at all, reaching only 10% of the sales of its predecessor. Launching earlier this year, the Switch is faring much better, including a killer app like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and featuring full portability.

It’s the portability that had me worried about my favorite Nintendo product of this century: the Nintendo 3DS. With the announcement and launch of the Switch, I had concerns over how Nintendo’s handheld-only console would fare when stacked up with a device that could do both.

Turns out my concerns were completely unfounded. The six-year old Nintendo 3DS is having its best year ever in 2017.

From the hardware side, this year saw the release of the New Nintendo 2DS XL. While the New Nintendo 3DS XL has failed to garner much of an audience thanks to a lack of Circle pad-requiring games, the New Nintendo 2DS XL should fare much better.

The New Nintendo 2DS XL is the exact same device as the 3DS XL (circle pad and everything) minus the 3D feature, for a much cheaper price. It’s an even better buy-in for parents and kids where the 3D effect isn’t nearly as desired (or even unwanted for younger kids) as just getting access to the amazing library of kid-friendly Nintendo 3DS games.

Over its prolific life cycle the 3DS has been home to all the biggest Nintendo series, including Zelda, Mario, Super Smash Bros, Pokémon, Fire Emblem, Monster Hunter, and Dragon Quest.

Need another reason why the 3DS is having an amazing year? I’ve got 19.

 

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

A remake of one of the best Japanese RPGs of the PlayStation 2 era, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is a must play for anyone who loves and appreciates old-school 90’s-style RPGs. The original game was noteworthy for featuring a fully 3D world to explore, which translates perfectly to the 3DS.

Release: January 20, 2017

 

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World

With the abysmal sales of the Wii U I’ll forgive you if you missed Poochy’s Woolly World last year. That’s all the more reason to play the 3DS version of this whimsical platformer. With a fun variety of levels, unique yarn art style, and plenty of secrets and unlockables, it’s one of the best 2D platformers I’ve played in years.

Release: February 3, 2017

 

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns

Farming sim Stardew Valley was all the rage last year. If you like that style the 3DS has plenty of sim-life and farming sim games to tackle. Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns features the same basic but fun routines of tending to farm life while exploring different towns and people.

Release: February 28, 2017

 

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia gives Western audiences their first introduction to 1991’s Fire Emblem Gaiden. Thank the Nintendo 3DS for popularizing the Fire Emblem series, from Awakening to Conquest and Birthright. Echoes offers unique gameplay features for the series, including dungeon crawling and dual protagonists. Read our review.

Release: May 19, 2017

 

Ever Oasis

The 3DS tends to play it safe with big franchise installments, but Ever Oasis is a completely new title. It combines Zelda-style exploration and combat with Animal Crossing-esque town management, as you build up your burgeoning oasis and recruit allies to run stalls and delve into dungeons. Read our review.

Release: June 23, 2017

 

Hey! Pikmin

Hey! Pikmin is a 2D spin-off that represents a significant departure from the main Pikmin series. This time around Captain Olimar using found Pikmin to solve puzzles. It seems particularly suited to younger children, and is noteworthy for supporting all amiibo figures with various in-game bonuses.

Release: July 28, 2017

 

Miitopia

Do you love those Streetpass mini-games where a bunch of Miis race cars or fish or battle zombies? Miitopia is a full-scale RPG featuring everyone’s Mii avatars. It’s as goofy and fun as you imagine, utilizing a lot of fun design elements from The Sims with a a classic party-based RPG.

Release: July 28, 2017

 

Monster Hunter Stories

This new spin-off combines all the best elements of Monster Hunter with Pokémon to create a surprisingly special experience. The Monster Hunter series can be especially daunting, but Monster Hunter Stories represents a successful kid-friendly version that retains much of the depth of the classic action series. Read our review.

Release: September 8, 2017

 

Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition

Minecraft is the only title here that requires the New Nintendo 3DS (or recently released 2DS). Minecraft was available on just about every platform in modern existence, and the 3DS wasn’t about to be left out. The 3DS version comes with five addtional skin packs and two texture packs.

Release: September 13, 2017

 

Metroid: Samus Returns

The first new 2D Metroid title in over a decade is cause for much rejoicing. It’s actually a remake of the 1991 Game Boy title Metroid II: Return of Samus. The entire game has been rebuilt with new modern visuals, dual-screen interface, and much-welcomed gameplay enhancements to combat and movement. More Metroid games please!

Release: September 15, 2017

 

Pokémon Gold and Silver

Pokémon Gold and Silver isn’t a remake or even an enhancement, it’s just the original games, coming to 3DS. Why is that noteworthy? For one, Gold and Silver (Gen 2) are still considered the best generation of Pokémon games, and favorites of many a long-time fan. Second it makes transferring Pokémon from these games into other 3DS games, such as Sun and Moon, much easier.

Release: September 22, 2017

 

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters

Yo-Kai Watch may be a shameless modern Pokémon clone, but they’re also legitimately fun games in their own right. Psychic Specters is the definitive third version of last year’s Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits. Aside from the better name it features new locations, new quests, expanded co-op, and more Yo-Kai to befriend.

Release: September 29, 2017

 

Culdcept Revolt

Culdcept has been around for years but mostly flown under the radar for Western audiences. Culdcept Revolt is the first title to reach the West since 2008’s Culdcept Saga. The series is a unique combination of strategy card and board games featuring over 400 different cards.

Release: October 3, 2017

 

Layton’s Mystery Journey

The Professor Layton series has been captivating puzzle game fans for years on Nintendo DS and 3DS. Layon’s Mystery Journey stars the Professor’s young daughter, Katrielle, now her own private detective, as she investigates the disappearance of her famous father. It’s the first Professor Layon title since 2013.

Release: October 6, 2017

 

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

Yet another remake of a classic game, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga updates the visuals of the 2003 Game Boy Advance RPG and combines it with an all-new storyline called Minion Quest. The original Superstar Saga is one of the best GBA games, and the series is beloved by Nintendo handheld fans.

Release: October 6, 2017

 

Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

With an old-school RPG flair that tasks you with mapping out dungeons, the Etrian Odyssey series is not for the faint of heart. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth is the second deep RPG in the series to grace the Nintendo 3DS. You can download a demo on the Nintendo eShop.

Release: October 17, 2017

 

Fire Emblem Warriors

We last saw a Dynasty Warriors – Nintendo crossover with Hyrule Warriors in 2014, and it reached the 3DS last year. This year both the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch will see the launch of Fire Emblem Warriors, featuring the large-scale action battles of Dynasty Warriors with the familiar anime characters of Fire Emblem.

Release: October 20, 2017

 

Mario Party: The Top 100

Mario Party: The Top 100 was just announced last week during the Nintendo Direct. It’s a compilation of the best 100 mini-games from all 10 Mario Party games. Let’s skip the laughably unbalanced and random board game portion and jump right into what we loved – goofy, quick, and fun mini-games starring our favorite Mario characters.

Release: November 10, 2017

 

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

You can’t declare a great Nintendo handheld year without a main Pokémon title to back it up. Unlike 2013’s Pokémon X and Y, last year’s Sun and Moon is getting a definitive third edition this year, featuring new Pokémon, new areas in the Alola region, and a new storyline.

Release: November 17, 2017

Download a Hat-Wearing Pikachu for Pokémon Sun and Moon

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Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are running a promotion with the release of the 20th animated feature film, Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You. With the provided code below and online access, anyone can obtain a unique hat-wearing Pikachu for their copy of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

A total of six different hatted Pikachu are available, but you can only obtain one of them. Each hat ties into one that Ash Ketchum wore in various eras of the Pokémon TV show and movies.

pokémon

Hats will be cycled by date, so the hat (and Pikachu) you receive depends on when you redeem the download code and Mystery Gift.

The first offering provides Pikachu wearing Ash’s cap from their original adventures through the Kanto and Johto regions. Likewise Pikachu’s moveset reflects the moves it would have from that era.

In order to obtain this Gen 1/2 version of Pikachu, you’ll need to redeem the code by September 25.

Here are the instructions:

  1. Open your Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon game.
  2. Select Mystery Gift on the main menu.
  3. Select Receive Gift.
  4. Select Get with Code/Password, then Yes, then Yes again to connect to the internet.
  5. Enter the code PIKACHU20.
  6. Watch as you receive your Pokémon.
  7. Speak to the delivery person in any Pokémon Center to receive your Pokémon.
  8. Be sure to save your game.

Here are Pikachu’s stats:

Level: 1
Nature: Hardy
Gender: Male
Ability: Static
Moves:

  • Thunderbolt
  • Quick Attack
  • Thunder
  • Agility

If you want a different hat-wearing Pikachu, you’ll need to wait until after September 25. No details have been revealed about the other five still to come.

The last batch of downloadable Mega Stones are also available. Follow the above instructions and enter the code DRACHE to receive Mega Stones for Ampharos, Altaria, Latios, and Latias for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. You have until October 31 to redeem the Mega Stone code.

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Monster Hunter Stories Review

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Available On: Nintendo 3DS

The Monster Hunter series has been around for over a decade, though far more popular in Japan than in the US. The world of gigantic monsters, challenging combat, and hours of grinding and crafting weapons and armor often remains impenetrable for many would-be fans.

Monster Hunter Stories refreshingly succeeds at being a more intuitive, kid-friendly spin-off game. It incorporates basic elements of Pokémon’s monster-collecting while still using the core tenets of Monster Hunter’s questing and hunting tasks to create a welcoming, yet deeply rich experience.

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